COVID19: Cyprus jabs move to under 60 this week

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Boosted by 60,000 COVID vaccine doses arriving this week, Cyprus’ vaccination rollout could reach people aged 57 by the end of the week, said Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.

Cyprus is enhancing its COVID-19 vaccination program, as authorities plan to open the online vaccination platform for people aged 61 and over on Wednesday as it climbs down the age ladder.

On Monday, the Health Minister said that Cyprus would receive 60,000 vaccine doses this week, enabling those aged 57 and 58 to book vaccine appointments from Friday or Saturday.

Also, slots for more vulnerable groups will be opening over the coming weeks.

Ioannou briefed the House Finance Committee on Monday, where the government had tabled a request for a supplementary budget of €250 mln to face the pandemic’s challenges.

He said the supplementary budget would set aside €60 mln for additional spending as part of the national coronavirus strategy.

It will purchase more vaccines, fund testing, track, and trace services, reinforce the epidemiological surveillance unit, public health clinics and purchase services from private clinics.

“This shows in practice the government’s strategy, which is based on the three pillars of testing, vaccinations and health protocols,” Ioannou told MPs.

Asked by MPs if people were hesitating to book an appointment for the AstraZeneca jab after associated with recent blood clotting incidents, Ioannou said: “There is no question of safety or efficiency. We are pushing on with vaccinations, with people booking appointments for all available vaccines”.

All four vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen) approved by the EU medicine regulator (EMA) are safe, adding that Cyprus is in line with EMA’s recommendations.

Ioannou disagreed that Cypriots are discouraged because half of the health professionals have not taken the vaccine.

“People are not following the example of some health professionals who have not been vaccinated.

“Vaccination coverage for people aged 80 and over is more than 80% and over 75% for the age group 70-79.”

Authorities are currently focusing on vaccinating people who take immunosuppressive drugs after those with diabetes and severe obesity.

The vaccination portal for people on immunosuppressive drugs opened on Monday until Tuesday at 7 pm for Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs.

Out of 5,891 appointments made available, 2,100 were taken by Monday noon.

As of Saturday, 161,526 people have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 46,866 having received both jabs.

So far, Cyprus has immunized around 18% of the population with at least one COVID-19 shot.